Apple Offers to Open NFC Payment Technology to Third-Party Developers in Europe

Apple has proposed opening its NFC payment technology to third-party developers in Europe, allowing direct rivals to Apple Pay to operate on the iPhone for the first time.

Historically, the use of Apple’s NFC chip in iPhones and Apple Watches for payments has been exclusively utilized by ‌Apple Pay‌, limiting the ability of banks and other financial services to offer their own contactless payment solutions on Apple’s platforms. In a statement to Reuters, Apple said:We have offered commitments to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.The concession comes as part of Apple’s efforts to address antitrust charges levied by the European Commission, which accuse the company of stifling competition by restricting third-party access to NFC capabilities on iOS devices.

Under the proposed commitments, developers of payment, banking, and digital wallet applications in the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to integrate their own solutions with the NFC chip on Apple devices. This change means that consumers could have the option to use NFC-enabled apps from other providers, alongside or instead of ‌Apple Pay‌. The commitment reportedly includes additional functionalities such as defaulting to preferred payment apps and integrating with Apple’s security features like Face ID.

While the focus of these changes is within the EEA, a region broader than the European Union, the implications of the shift could have a broader impact on the mobile payments market globally. The EEA covers the overwhelming majority of the European market, and Apple’s decision could set a precedent for its operations in other areas of the world in the future as antitrust scrutiny increases.

As part of the review process, the European Commission is currently seeking feedback from rival companies and customers on Apple’s proposed concessions. The final decision will consider the responses from these stakeholders. If approved, the implementation of Apple’s proposed commitments will be monitored by a trustee reporting to the Commission.

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